Here are a few pro-tips to help you navigate the local culture.
– Do shake hands when meeting people; conservative veiled women may not reach out.
– Do stand up when greeting others.
– Do shake your cup from side to side in order to decline a refill of your coffee.
– Do hold your cup out to signal you would like more.
– Do accept when Arabic coffee is offered to you by your host, as it is a sign of hospitality.
– Do carry plenty of loose change with you, as many Jordanians usually do not carry adequate change.
– Do tip waiters approximately 10% gratuity in addition to the bill (unless a service charge is included in the total bill).
– Do round your taxi fare up to the nearest tenth when paying your driver.
– Do haggle with merchants when shopping.
– Do dress conservatively when exploring public areas of Jordan.
– Do be aware that Arabs tend to stand a fraction of the distance closer when conversing than people do in the West.
– Do feel free to consume alcoholic beverages, but not in outside the appropriate areas.
– Men: Do sit in the front seat of the taxi as it is seen as respectful.
– Women: Do sit in the back seat of a taxi as it is seen as disrespectful.
– Do make space for the elderly and women on public transportation.
– Don’t interrupt, or pass in front of, a Muslim who may be praying in a public place.
– Don’t openly consume food, beverages, or cigarettes in public places during the holy month of Ramadan.
– Don’t dress provocatively when walking outdoors.
– Don’t panic if an acquaintance “pecks” you on the cheeks when greeting you, as Arabs have traditionally kissed each other on both cheeks as a warm gesture of welcome and affection.
– Don’t feel uncomfortable if your host insists on “over feeding” you during a meal, as Arabs traditionally view food as an important symbol of hospitality, generosity, and goodwill – the more the better!
– Don’t feel that you are required to tip your taxi driver, as tipping in such a scenario is not necessary, but is certainly appreciated.
– Don’t slam a taxi drivers door shut.
Feel free to consume alcohol, as it is widely available at bars and hotels across Jordan. During Ramadan, drinks are only available to visitors in their hotels. Alcohol can also be bought from supermarkets.